Introduction

The brief was to create a two minute long adventure film set in the Peak District, which could potentially promote the Peak District. We had 2 months to complete it all, but we had 1 month to plan and pitch our idea to the class. My pitch wasn’t picked to be worked on, therefore I was picked to work on the directors idea with Maddy. My role was to be the cinematographer, so I had to do a lot of research before hand to strengthen my view’s on the colours and the shots I’m going to get. I also did research into what the target audience likes in this genre, and how they get inspired by a video.

Planning

We were all told to make a proposal for our own idea, however mine didn’t get picked to be produced. My initial proposal wasn’t that useful to work by when planning since my idea wasn’t properly decided yet. That made it hard when planning things, since I wasn’t quite sure what I needed. My initial idea didn’t change much when I did my final proposal, apart from the fact I actually knew what I was doing. I knew that I was going to do a video about my dads first time mountain biking in the Peak District, reflecting via interviews throughout the route. In my initial idea, I had an idea about maybe comparing my 60 year old dad to a professional and making it humorous, however I decided against this because I wasn’t quite sure how I’d execute it well. If I was to complete a proposal again, I would probably add a younger person into the mix and make it compare a younger persons first time mountain biking in the Peak District to and older person. I’d do this to add more depth to the moral of the story, which was to motivate older people into getting active. Some of the research I did for my initial idea helped me since it was general, filming research.

For Dylan’s idea I only did one piece of planning, as he did the rest. This planning was the shot list of all of the shots that I needed to to shoot during the day, so that I had an initial draft idea of what shots I’m going to get. Since I only did one piece of planning, I met the deadline and don’t have any issue with my time management. However, after we went to the Peak District we still had more footage to shoot and we didn’t mange the time for this very well, since it was filmed on the week of the deadline for the final edit. There was one problem that we faced after the planning, which was how we were going to film the scenes that were set in a house since the only location we could film in, not all of us had permission. We over came this by having the director film it for himself since Maddy or myself didn’t have permission. We could’ve planned it better by knowing where we’re going to film those scenes in, and whether all of us would have permission or not. This was the only problem that we encountered during the planning.

Research

I did some initial research into my idea, so that if my idea got picked I already had a lot of research done, and also so that it could strengthen my pitch because I’d know all of the facts already. The first bit of research I did was to test the sound and how we were going to avoid getting a lot of wind noise in it by holding the mic below the person, rather than above. The next bit of research I did was a textual analysis on Denali, a youtube adventure video. This wasn’t very big because at the time I wasn’t sure how much depth I was meant to go into, so it was only a short analysis. I then read through a few books and websites to get some idea’s on how I was going to do pre-production and production, to give me some tips. Some of the tips where to get some B-rolls into the video, so that it’s not just action scenes. I also got a tip to say that I should write down a list of equipment that I need, I would’ve done this if my film was picked. I also did a target audience survey to get the basic demographic of my target audience. I then did two other surveys, one aimed at 16-30 year olds to try and get their opinions and preferences on adventure films, I also did one for 30+ year olds too. These three surveys gave me a good idea onto the length of film I should make, and also what social media to broadcast it on.

For cinematography I did a lot of different pieces of research. Before the production I did simple research to give me an idea of how to film the product, such as a textual analysis on The A Word on BBC iPlayer. This helped me by giving a lot of inspiration into how to compose scenic shots, but not just focus on the scenery but also on the story. Additionally, I tested the lenses, aperture and cinemode for some primary research into how I was going to film the film. This was all effective as it gave me a basic idea into how I was going to make my film look, and how to compose everything.

Throughout the production I did another textual analysis to give me even more ideas of how to compose a good shot and contrast it well to give the impact I want. I also did more surveys for the target audience, so that I knew a lot more about what they liked and what sort of cinematographer inspires the audience. One of them was to see what colours inspire them the most, so that I knew to bring out those specific colours in my production. I also did some primary research after the first day of shooting, and took the footage home to colour correct for myself and see what looks good and what doesn’t, this helped me when I finally did the production as I knew what setting did what. Moreover, I did some research into what makes a film flop, or successful. By doing this, I knew what not do on this project, and what to do. Such as, aim it at the audience that i’m targeting and having an interesting story line. This was also effective because when I did my final survey at the screening, I compared it to the successful and least successful bits of the two films I looked at.

Overall, I think I could’ve probably done more research. I could’ve done a lot more primary research by taking the equipment out to the Peak District and try filming some shots there, this would’ve improved the film as I would’ve had better idea’s of what shots I wanted and how I was going to create them. This would’ve made me feel a lot more confident when I was finally on the shoot, and we would’ve got a lot more scenic shots, and a lot better shots to work with. Some of the shots look a bit flat, and if I’d have known from previous experience, I could’ve made them have a lot more depth and look a lot better. I also should’ve tested whether using Cinemode was the best option, or whether I should just film them in the normal mode. By not doing this, I was risking it not looking as good. However, I think I did quite a lot of research into different films so that I knew exactly what shots will look good and how to portray the drama effect that the film has. I also did a lot to know how to target the audience I want to and how to get them interested and inspired.

Reflective Journal

I did a reflective journal at the end of every week, so that I could look back at everything I did and see how it helped me and what I need to do next. It sort of made me understand what I had actually done throughout the week, and why I did it. It also helped me know whether I should do that again next week, or change the way I do things so that I could get a better outcome. This helped especially on the week of filming because then I knew the problems and how to overcome them for the next day of shooting. On day one of shooting, we stayed in Castleton all day. We weren’t quite sure where in Castleton we are going to shoot until we got there, we walked around to find aseptically pleasing places to shoot. The director did some research into a limestone valley in Castleton, so we shot most of the things there. We had originally planned to go to Mam Tor the second day, however we chose not to on day one. So, on day two we went back there to film the rest of the shots, and then everyone got together to go to Padley Gorge and The Surprise, where did the last shots of the Peak District as he looks over the Peak District. The third day of shooting was in college, where we set out the editing suit to look like an office.

The Product

I think the product does fit the purpose to an extent since it shows how boring the actors life is before the Peak District and how it gets a lot better, and brighter, after the Peak District. One code and convention of an adventure film is someone going on an adventure in a new location that they’ve never been to before and having scenic shots of this location, which is what my product includes a lot of. Another code and convention is to have some sort of sport in it, which is good since it has jogging in the film because it’s based on how jogging and the Peak District make him feel free. From my previous research that I did on my initial idea, I found out that close ups of feet and faces were a regular, which is good since I have put this in my video. Another is establishing shots, which are in my video a lot since it sets the scene that the actor is running in. I also put another codes and conventions in, of using high contrasted shots, which is what I used in the second half of my video. I also did shots that were still but with action going by, and also used atmospheric sounds. The two codes and conventions I found from this research that I didn’t used was a voice over and point of view shots. In my opinion, a voice over wouldn’t have worked on this video since it would’ve taken some of the drama away from the video.

My role in the production was to be a cinematographer. I fulfilled this to an extent, considering at  one of the locations I didn’t have permission to go into, which meant that someone else had to film those scenes instead. Looking back now at the footage I did shoot, I think most of it worked well, however I could’ve got more footage in the Peak District to make the second half longer and give a bigger impact. The slider shot didn’t work very well, and it took a while to set up. This shot is one of the shots that I don’t like, this is because it’s slightly soft. But it’s hard to make an extreme long shot in focus fully, since you can’t focus that great from that far away. Also, it was hard to tell on the camera if it was 100% in focus because it was a very sunny day, meaning the screen on the  camera was very hard to see. This next screenshot is the slider shot, as you can tell it doesn’t slide that well to the left to show as much of the scenery that I hoped. I wanted it to slide further out to get all of the view, however the slider wasn’t long enough to get this effect and just adds a tiny bit of movement to the shot, rather than revealing the scenery he’s gazing at.  This next shot is also another that I don’t really like, this is because as The actor runs away, his feet go out of focus. Even though they go out of focus, it looks alright because his feet are in focus at the start then they go out of focus for a second. None of the research or pre-production really helped me with any of these problems, because it was just cinematographer error. Despite all of this, the rest of the shots were pretty good and I think I did quite well on composing the shots on the drone, I didn’t fly the drone but I composed the shots and could see them on the iPad and knew exactly how I wanted them to look. These drone shots work really well in the film and make it a lot better, if I didn’t use the drone the film would definitely have not looked as good since it wouldn’t have the impact. Also, the shot of the phone being put onto a rock was a really well done shot, even if it was just of a phone.

I like the film overall, I think it fits the brief really well since it show’s how boring the actor’s life was before he went to the Peak District, and then how better and free it got after the Peak District. It also is an adventure film, since there are a lot of establishing shot and theres action (the actor jogging) in it, also promoting the Peak District. I think everything works really well, however, if I was the sound designer I would’ve chosen a different song to put over the top. The song that’s in it does work really well, but it’s not to my taste. But, since it works, it doesn’t effect the video at all. The film would’ve looked better also if I would’ve had permission to do the first scene, because then the footage would’ve have been grainy and that drags the film quality down a bit. From doing this project, I developed some technical skills such as colour correcting. This is because I shot the footage in cinemode, I had to correct all of the colours on the footage, which made me develop this skill and understand all of the layers to colour correcting. Another skill was using the drone camera, I did the cinematography on the iPad for the drone camera, which is something I have never done before. There was only one issue between the members of the group, and that was because only one of us had permission to film in one of the locations, and that made a bit of tension between us since Maddy and I would be putting our grades into someone else’s hands as they film/record sound for us.

I think it does appeal to the target audience because most people of the ages 16-25 have a boring, repetitive life just like the actor does at the start where they either work or go to education everyday. So, by showing how the actor get away from that boredom and repetitive life, could inspire the audience of the same life to go out and jog in the Peak District. It also could inspire people to do more with their lives than just do the same thing over and over, and to do something they enjoy rather than something they don’t enjoy. Before the production, I did some audience research. I did a survey into what type of cinematography people like to see on my video and what colours and shots would inspire them the most, so that I knew exactly what to emphasise to get the video as inspiring as possible. I used this research effectively, because I brought out most of the colours found out in the survey when colour correcting, to make it the most inspiring that I could. Once the product was finished, we did a screening. From the screening we got some feedback from our classmates and teachers. The feedback was mainly about the colours, which was my fault. From this feedback, I went back to the video and edited the colours to make them better and to how the audience would prefer. When doing our FMP we followed the legal and ethical guidelines, when picking the music Maddy got a copyright free song to put over the top.

Conclusion

If I was to do the unit again, I’d probably improves quite a few things. Firstly, I’d plan it a lot better by planning more of the shots out and doing a storyboard so that when I’m actually filming I know exactly what shots I’m getting, rather than just winging it when we’re at the location. I’d also plan to get permission to the location we didn’t have permission to go into. I’d do more research and more in depth, so that I knew everything and had an answer into every problem we faced. I’d also do more research into how to compose and shoot better footage. I would’ve definitely improved my creativity because then I would’ve been able to shoot better footage to make the overall film look better, my range of shots wasn’t that big because I was trying to focus more on getting the scenery in rather than the storyline, which was my mistake. I could’ve improved the product by taking more time in the colour correcting and having more patience with it rather than just leaving it satisfactory. To improve it I should’ve brightened the colours that I found inspired people, rather than just everything. The reds on the product are really bright compared to everything else, and when doing the screening everyone picked up on that factor. I would also improve my problem solving since whenever I came across a problem I didn’t solve them because they were all small, and just went with it. I’d also have changed the amount of communication happening in the group, considering we didn’t do the first scene until the week of the screening, and Maddy and I didn’t have permission in the location. Other than these factors, I reckon it went well and the product was successful and people really enjoyed it at the screening.

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